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Champs 2019 – Schedule, How To Watch, Data, Trivia and More

“What exactly is the Boys and Girls Championships? The only way to properly answer this question is to actually go to Kingston, Jamaica, at the end of March and witness the event that is affectionately and simply known as ‘Champs’. The biggest and the most popular athletics competition in Jamaica, ‘Champs’ is a nationwide team competition among high school teams, consisting of athletes aged 10 to 19. But it’s more than that. Most importantly, it’s five days of a general excitement.”  – IAAF.

In 2019, the dates are March 26 – 30, 2019. And, if you plan to check out Champs – live and direct or viturally – here’s some helpful information.

Data, Triva & More

First, we have lots of information about Champs on diG Jamaica.  We have a whole category for Champs with facts, figures, trivia etc.  You can also find lots of information on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) website in this section including schedule, complete results (2016, 2017, 2018), class champions boys and girls (2016, 2017), records etc.

Where To Watch

The place to be is the National Stadium, of course.  But if you didn’t get tickets or you happen to live overseas, you can watch online at 1Spot Media by clicking this link here or downloading the app (Android, iOS).

When to Watch – The Schedule

As at March 22, 2019, the JAAA provided the below stated as the DRAFT Champs Schedule.

Source: JAAA


What’s Allowed + What’s Banned


How Did White Horses In St. Thomas Get Its Name?

White Horses, St. Thomas ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Upon hearing “white horses”, one may immediately think of the majestic beasts that tend to gallop along a beach, however, this White Horses is a small town located on the south coast of the island of Jamaica.

Jamaica is a nation of immense beauty with sparkling blue waters and white sandy beaches; you may have visited her parish of St. Thomas to experience the wonders of Bath Fountain or Reggae Falls, and those are wonders, no doubt, but White Horses serves as a simple little town with a special character.

“White Horses? What kind of name is that for a town?” one may ask, of course, Jamaica is no stranger to odd town names as they are often related to the physical features of the location or its history – For example: Ocho Rios does have 8 rivers. Why is this town White Horses: it is surely not filled with the beautiful beasts strolling around the area?

This small coastal town has access to a wide beach with an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea, with the most beautiful site being the movements of the waves. As they rise like creatures with a mind of their own, the waves approach the beach, breaking into multitudes of white sea foam, formed on the surface of the water, and is surely alluring to look at. The foam travels with the waves as it washes up the beach and returns to the sea, swirling as it goes. The continuous repetition of the large back-to-back waves and the white foam creates a picturesque site of the white wave heading to shore. Moving at great speed, folding and curling the foam like a white mane on a horse, swiftly galloping towards the seashore.

That is how the town got its name: the waves do indeed appear like these beasts, and the foam gives it the finishing touch of white, hence, “White Horses”. I implore you to take a drive along the coast one day and keep a look out. One may never know what is charging by the sea, possibly a white horse, and it is certainly not a disappointment, especially at sunset as you experience another amazing wonder of Jamaica.

Check out Roving With Lalah: A gallop through White Horses:

Written by Rhea Braithwaite, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters. This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

7 Tips For Transitioning Hair

In light of the recent “natural hair movement”, many Jamaican women are opting to skip the relaxers and heat styling in favour of their naturally growing kinks and curls. Yendi Phillips, Terri-Karelle Reid and Davina Bennett are a few of the well-known faces representing Jamaican women who just can’t get enough of their kink.

While some decide to part with damaged ends all at once with a “big chop”, others have chosen the more passive route, transitioning: the process by which the natural roots are allowed to grow out underneath the relaxed or heat-damaged ends.

What do you do with your transitioning hair and how do you treat it? The problem isn’t the transitioning hair itself but how to treat the hair as it transitions. How do you blend the two textures (processed and natural) without your hair looking unkempt?

Here are seven tips to consider when treating the transitioning hair:

  1. Moisturize hair daily with a lightweight moisturizer.
  2. Deep conditioning once a month: this is essential in retaining length.
  3. Detangle hair while wet and slippery with conditioner, using a wide tooth comb or paddle brush. Begin detangling at the ends first.
  4. Use curl defining creams when styling wet hair and curl revitalizing spray to refresh dry hair.
  5. Always let your hair air dry or use blow dryer on cool, keeping the heat exposure to a minimum, this prevents damage and further shrinkage caused by heat.
  6. Ensure that you use heat protectant if applying heat to your hair during treatment, for example: blow drying or steaming below a hair dryer.
  7. Be very gentle with the transitioning hair! The line of separation (between natural and transitioning hair) is the hair’s weakest point, making your hair extremely prone to breakage.

Now, armed with this knowledge of treating transitioning hair, come back next week to see a list of hairstyles that you can rock when journeying through the ‘transitioning phase’. “Til then, you may go forth and flourish! May your ‘fro’ grow, Queens!”

Written by Catherine Lloyd, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters. This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

What Happened Off The Coast Of Kingston To The Prinzessin Victoria Luise?

On a dark night during the winter of 1906, a lone ship sailed ahead, marking the beginning of a promising voyage that would later end in misfortune. Such is the case of most naval tragedies, the most widely referenced of these being the sinking of the Titanic; however, there is one voyage marred by tragedy involving Jamaica is often overlooked: the loss of the Prinzessin Victoria Luise.

In the late 1800s, transatlantic travel by ship was growing increasingly popular, however, these journeys were not usually for pleasure. This began to change with the construction of the Prinzessin Victoria Luise – named in honor of Princess Victoria Luise Adelheid Mathilde Charlotte, the daughter of then German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II – at the turn of the century.

Often regarded as the world’s first pleasure cruise ship, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise, according to cruise1st.co, boasted “120 luxuriously appointed cabins, all offering first-class accommodation and exceptional service”. Albert Ballin (Managing Director) commissioned the ship as a part of the Hamburg-America Line: a transatlantic steamship line established in Germany in 1847 and began voyaging in 1901.

Unfortunately, in 1906 the ship’s career came to an abrupt end off the coast of Kingston, Jamaica.

On December 12, 1906, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise left New York, USA, en route to Kingston, Jamaica, a promising voyage which would later end in disaster. On the night of December 16, 1906, Captain H. Brunswig incorrectly identified the Plumb Point Lighthouse, which was located near the Palisadoes, to be the lighthouse at the western point of Port Royal.

With no one on land to guide the ship, Captain Brunswig entered the harbour without aid, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise then crashed into a large rock on the coast which brought the steam liner’s short career to an end. The ship ran aground, dislodging her engines and shattering her frame plates. There were no casualties and all passengers were safely evacuated to land, another vessel from the line was sent to retrieve the passengers. Distraught by the damages done to his ship and the lives he put at risk, Captain Brunswig retired to his quarters where he took his own life.

The ship was declared a total loss on December 19, 1906. A Gleaner article of the same date described the scene, detailing that “the heavy seas have been breaking over her pitilessly from the time she struck on Sunday night, and, every effort proving unavailing, she has now been abandoned and left to her fate.”

Written by Morgan-Leigh Miller, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

5 Tips To Live A Life Worth Living

Nowadays, the goal of many millennials and “Gen Z-ers” is to “live their best life”. The saying, which gained popularity thanks to the song “I’m living my best life” by Lil Duval, and numerous internet memes, is synonymous with enjoying life to the fullest – living life on ‘my’ terms, doing things that are worth ‘my’ while, and ultimately, being happy. Like most clichés however, this is much easier said than done.

Life is full of “obstacles” – it could be a dreary job, a toxic relationship, or, as is commonly the case, a lack of resources. Despite our everyday problems, there are simple methods that we can all use to achieve self-fulfillment. Here are 5 tips to “Live a Life Worth Living”:

1. Dream BIG

Where do you want to be in 5 years? How about 10 years from now? Chances are that your vision includes achievements such getting a degree, securing your dream job, or travelling the world. It is also likely that there are persons around you who will try to or are trying to discourage you from going after your goals – they might say that your goals are “too big”, “too unrealistic”, or that “you will never achieve them”. It is challenging to ignore these sentiments, especially when they come from people you love and who you think have your best interest at heart. A vital part of taking charge of your life involves trumping the negative energy around you and focusing on what it is that you want. At the end of the day, you will only regret the chances that you didn’t take. Dream big and do so unapologetically!

2. Honesty is the best policy

As we grow, it is important that we practice honesty. As our goals and desires begin to take shape, our circumstances may become hard for us to accept, but being true to self is vital to our growth. For example, if you are a high school student, you may want to go to university right after graduation, but your parents cannot afford tertiary education. Consider the feasibility of having to take out a student loan versus getting a job until you can pay for your own tuition. You may be struggling with your health and are afraid to admit that your poor dietary habits are the reasons behind them. There is nothing wrong with having a few shortcomings, we all experience a fault or inadequacy now and then, be honest about your shortcomings and will yourself to on improve them.

3. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail 

It is one thing to have tons of exciting ideas about the direction in which you want to take your life, but those ideas are meaningless if they are not executed. Proper execution, however, isn’t possible without proper planning. If you have a goal, whether it is long term or short term, it is important to break it down into smaller steps. This way, you can have a clear idea of what you need to do in order to achieve your end goal. Clarity reduces stress and anxiety, setting straightforward objectives will better equip you in chasing after your dreams and passion.

4. Roll with the punches 

It is often said that the most constant thing in life is change. This applies to every facet of life – no matter how much you organize, how much time or money you invest, or how badly you work for a desired outcome – there is always a possibility of things not going according to plan. This can be a deterrent for anyone, especially when a lot of effort has been put into the cause. This is where flexibility comes in – to achieve your most extraordinary goals, you must learn to adapt to changes, and to be flexible enough to stay afloat when things happen unexpectedly. Roadblocks are inevitable, but they don’t have to determine your outcome. It is your responsibility to be persistent in pursuit of your dreams.

5. Seize what is yours

You have identified your goals and created your objectives, and you’ve found your passion; it is now time to go after them. You must erase the fear of ‘not achieving’ and be brave enough to go after dreams. Create opportunities and seize them. Remain passionate, remain hungry, and don’t allow yourself to be deterred by naysayers who try to prevent you from growing. The world is a big place, but your zeal is even bigger! Seize every opportunity that comes your way and live your best life to the fullest.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Written by Trevonae Williams, student of Manchester High School. Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

The Benefits Of 4 Jamaican Bush Teas

As Jamaicans, we have always heard from our parents or grandparents about the wonders of “bush tea”. Whether you had a headache, upset stomach, cold, flu, or any other ailment, they would brew some fever grass or bitter cerasee and give it to you as a miracle cure.

Well, their claims about “bush tea” were truer than you think or would have thought. Though they may not have been the remedy for any and everything like our relatives told us, scientific research has found that some of these “bushes” have amazing medicinal properties.

Today we look at the health benefits of some of these “bush teas” so that you can consider keeping up these traditions:

  1. Cerasee

Due to the extremely bitter taste associated with cerasee, this tea is dreaded by many Jamaicans, especially kids, when offered to them as medicine. It is perfectly called “Bitter Melon” in other parts of the world. You can add sugar or sweeteners to reduce its bitter taste. Here are some remedial properties:

  • Rich in natural antioxidants
  • Reduces inflammation due to allergies
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • It is a detoxifier, so, it is great for a “wash-out”
  • Alleviates gastrointestinal problems like parasitic worms or constipation
  1. Fever Grass

More commonly known as “lemongrass” outside of Jamaican. The tea is widely brewed by Jamaicans to reduce fever, hence the name “fever grass”. Here are some benefits to drinking the tea or using the lemon grass essential oil extracted from the plant:

  • Pain reliever
  • Alleviates cold and flu symptoms
  • Detoxifier that rids body of extra fluid and sodium
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Rich in natural antioxidants
  • Boosts skin health and strengthens hair follicles
  1. Guinea Hen Weed

This herb is referred to as Anamu in regions around the Amazon Rainforest where the plant originated from. Guinea hen weed has been studied intensely as a medicinal herb over the past few years; researchers found that the herb has beneficial biological compounds within it making it a strong medicinal herb that:

  • Has cancer-killing properties
  • Act as pain relief
  • Aids in therapy for arthritis and rheumatism
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Has anti-bacterial properties fight against viruses and bacteria such as yeast
  • Lowers blood sugar

There is an entire diG article about the benefits of Guinea Hen Weed here.

  1. Lime Leaf Tea

Although the small green citrus fruit of this plant is much more popular worldwide, its leaves have some remedial properties which may not be made known.

  • Rich in vitamin C which boosts immune system
  • Alleviation of respiratory conditions such as asthma
  • Treatment of digestive problems
  • Relief of nausea and upset stomach
  • Lowers risk of heart disease

Please note that serious conditions should not be self-treated using these herbal teas. Find out from a doctor if these herbs can be used alongside any medication prescribed to you. They should not be used in place of any prescribed medication without approval from your doctor. Excessive consumption of these teas is not advised. It is better to use them for a few days then take a break before continuing further use. Pregnant woman should NOT use any of these teas as the major components of the herbs may cause complications with the pregnancy.

Drink responsibly and continue to pass on the Jamaican heritage through bush tea drinking.

Written by Johan Gordon, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

Debt Owed To Foreigners – How Much, To Whom And When Do We Have To Pay It Back?

Every country in the world borrows money in the world to operate. Jamaica borrows more from outside the country that it does from lenders inside the country. As at the 31st of December, Jamaica borrowed or guaranteed US$9.9Billion worth of loans.

In real terms, each man, woman and child, through the Jamaican government, owed a little more than J$460,000 to foreign debtors.

To Whom Do We Owe This Debt?

We owe a lot of different entities money, but by far and away the largest owners of Jamaican Government debt are Private Bondholders – nearly 61%! Bonds are Jamaica’s largest source of international debt financing. This is why it is important to hear what ratings agencies like Standard & Poors and Moody’s think about us when they assign us a bond rating – it affects how we borrow money going into the future. The lower your bond rating, the more likely the rating agencies believe you won’t pay them back their bond in the future. Ratings have been moving upward over time as our economic situation has improved.

Our next largest set of lenders are the multilaterals – the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Caribbean Development Bank and others, owning more than 31% of Jamaica’s debt. These loans are usually tied to particular projects, such as rural electrification, the education system transformation programme or the fiscal administration modernisation programme.

The third and smallest tranche comes from bilateral lenders, such as China, the US and the UK. In recent years China has been our largest bilateral lender, while in previous years we have owed and repaid countries such as Germany and Kuwait.

What Are The Interest Rates On These Loans?

Right now, the Government does not give us precise information. However, we do know that the majority of these loans are fixed interest rate. In a low interest rate environment, this is probably a good thing.

What Currency Do We Have To Pay The Loans Back In?

Although we borrow from all over the world, nearly everyone wants to be repaid in US$. 98% of all our loans are to be repaid in the greenback, and this is why the US$ will remain the most important currency in the world for years to come.

When Are Our Loans Due?

And now for the most important question, especially relating to this year’s budget – when are our loans due for repayment?

The graph above shows that over the next year, US$120mln of loans become due. Thereafter, for the next five years an average of US$85.7mln/year in loans becomes due each year – how that is distributed annually we don’t know. But that is very good news for the next government.

The five year after that though, over US$792mln/year in loans becomes due annually! Fortunately, this is mostly in bonds, so more than likely new bonds will be issued to retire those old bonds. We can only hope that the world will still be in a low interest rate environment 10 years from now.

54% of our debts, as shown here, are not the current government’s problem – they are the problem of the next generation of leaders.

Tomorrow we will look at domestic debt and hope it is not nearly as exciting as this.

Talking Money With Your Honey

This information is part of JMMB’s Finance Made Simple with Michelle series which appears in The Gleaner.

Are you good at talking about money with your honey? We all want our love story to read “and they lived happily ever after”.  Having financial harmony is critical to this. So here are some suggested ways to talk money with your honey in a loving way:

“Honey, let’s us examine our financial obligations and income together”

All individual obligations including loans and child or parental support should be matched against what you individually earn.  This will help determine how much you and your partner can reasonably contribute to your joint expenses.  Will you split the expenses 50/50 or will either of you have a larger portion of the bills? How would you both feel baout this?

“Babes, should we save or borrow for this?”

It is critical to align on when to save towards a financial goal vs. when to borrow.  Remember, the greater the debt of either party, the less he/she can contribute towards joint financial goals.  If you secure a JMMB loan with an asset, a great addition is the extremely affordable creditor life insurance so that in the event of death, your partner is not left “holding the bag”; instead your partner can enjoy the asset debt-free.

“Sugar, do we have enough protection for each other and the children?”

Insurance gives peace of mind, since you know your family is protected.  If one spouse becomes ill or dies, insurance allows the other partner to have enough money to cover all or most of the associated costs, while managing other financial obligations.  Remember, an important aspect of love is protecting each other.

“Darling, how do we grow old together and be financially free?”

If one partner does not have a pension plan, it is possible that in later years, one retirement plan would need to financially sustain both of you.  How much will both of you need to enjoy retirement debt-free? JMMB can help you calculate how much both you and your spouse will need in retirement.  Additionally, an individual retirement plan can be created with JMMB if your partner does not currently have one because he/she is either self-emplyed or does not have an employer pension plan.

“Sweetie, should we manage our accounts – separately or jointly?”

For some couples it is natural that their funds will be joined; while others prefer to have separate accounts.  Whichever you choose, it is best to have transparency and financial fidelity because whether or not your accounts are joined, individual financial behaviour will impact you as a couple.  If you want to test the waters, you may want to start with a small joint account and when the trust grows, you may choose to add your partner to other JMMB Accounts.

Together you can accomplish your financial dreams and have financial bliss, by having a joint FREE JMMB Goal Planning Session with a JMMB financial advisor.  Schedule an appointment here.

Written by: Michelle Sinclair-Doyley, Manager, Client Financial Education, JMMB Group



43 Jamaican Beaches – Owners, Descriptions, Tips and More

Did you know that NEPA has a beach guide?  Yes, it does.

“In Jamaica, beaches are primarily recognized for the significant role they play in our social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being. They are a national asset providing public recreational spaces for people of all ages. Beaches support the local economy through tourism, fishing, vending and several means of livelihoods that are directly and indirectly linked to their existence. The Jamaica Beach Guide is designed to easily allow Jamaicans and visitors alike to locate public bathing beaches across the island so they are able to access and enjoy the beauty of the Jamaican seascape.” – NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) website.

You can find:

  • A list of 43 beaches in Jamaica with images, location, owner, environmental features, accessibility and parking, amenities, things to do and licenses held.  There’s also a map to show where these beaches are located.
  • Information about licenses
  • How to adopt a beach and volunteer for beach clean up
  • Facts about sargassum and sea turtles

The 43 beaches are:

  1. Alligator Pond, Manchester
  2. Annotto Bay Beach, St. Mary
  3. Barrett Hall Beach, St. James
  4. Bluefields Beach Park, Westmoreland
  5. Boston Bay Beach, Portland
  6. Braco Beach, Trelawny
  7. Burwood Beach, Trelawny
  8. Calabash Bay Beach, St. Elizabeth
  9. Copacabana Beach, St. Andrew
  10. Crane Road Beach, St. Elizabeth
  11. Doctors Cave Beach, St. James
  12. Drapers Beach, Portland
  13. Dunn’s River Falls and Park, St. Ann
  14. Flamingo Beach, Trelawny
  15. Fort Charles Beach, St. Elizabeth
  16. Fort Clarence Beach Park, St. Catherine
  17. Great Bay Beach, St. Elizabeth Beach
  18. Half Moon Bay Beach, Trelawny Beach
  19. Hope Bay Beach, Portland Beach
  20. Innis Bay Beach, Portland
  21. Jackson Bay Beach, Clarendon
  22. Jacob Taylor Beach, Trelawny
  23. Long Bay Beach, Portland
  24. Long Bay Beach Park, Westmoreland
  25. Lyssons Beach, Trelawny
  26. Manchioneal Beach, Portland
  27. Marine Terminal Beach St. Catherine
  28. Murdock Beach, St. Mary
  29. Norman Manley Beach Park, Westmoreland
  30. Ocho Rios Bay Beach, St. Ann
  31. Parrottee Beach, St. Elizabeth
  32. Port Morant Beach, St. Thomas
  33. Priory, St. Ann
  34. Puerto Seco, St. Ann
  35. Retreat Beach, St. Thomas
  36. Rio Bueno Beach, Trelawny
  37. Roxborough, St. Ann
  38. Salem Beach, St. Ann
  39. Spring Gardens, Portland
  40. St. Margaret’s Bay Beach, Portland
  41. Tryall Beach, Hanover
  42. Walter Fletcher Beach, St. James
  43. Winnifred Beach, Portland

Here’s a screenshot from the front page:

You can visit the NEPA website to explore the Jamaica Beach Guide

How To: Calculate the Savings from Reduced Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax

Among the recently announced reductions in various taxes are stamp duty and transfer tax. Let’s look at what those reductions could mean in dollar value when purchasing or selling property.

As of April 1, 2019:

  • Stamp duty, which was previously assessed ad valorem (as a percentage) at a rate of 2% for the buyer and 2% for the seller (a total of 4% per transaction) will now be reduced to a flat fee of $5,000.
  • Transfer tax, which is borne by the seller, was previously assessed at rate of 5% has now been reduced to 2%.


For purposes of illustration, let’s look at a property to be sold/bought for $10 million.  Using the calculator:

As you can see, the seller will save the most in the transaction, as a result of the changes to these fees. In this scenario about $495,000 less will be paid by the seller in these two fees. The buyer will save the difference in the stamp duty of $200,000 assuming the new $5,000 fee is borne by the seller (this information was not available at the time of writing).

The tables below present calculations for the savings seen for the purchase of a range of properties – $5 million to $50 million.

Reduction in Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax
Reduction in Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax (cont’d)

The larger the property value, the greater the reduction in fees, particularly for the sellers of property, which can be calculated from the formula:


It is important to note that Stamp Duty and Transfer Tax are not the only fees to be considered in the purchase of property. Other fees include:

  • Real Estate Agent Fees (3-5% + GCT each)
  • Attorney’s Fees (1.5% – 3% + GCT each)
  • Preparation of Sales Agreement ( approximately 0.2%)
  • Registration Fee (0.25% each)

Have a property in mind and want to see the savings? To access a calculator that includes estimated stamp duty and transfer tax fees click here.

Guest Post:  Gillian Jackson, Researcher and Analyst (Twitter: @MsGillyJ)


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